Ranking the most important games on the Vikings schedule in 2024

Minnesota Vikings WR Brandon Powell
Minnesota Vikings WR Brandon Powell / David Berding/GettyImages

The NFL released the 2024 schedule on Wednesday, and now the Minnesota Vikings know when and where they will be playing in 2024. At first glance, this looks like a difficult schedule with many playoff teams on the menu. There's also a handful of teams who are up and coming and will be far from guaranteed victories.

The Vikings only have three primetime games with one of those being an overseas battle against the New York Jets. They start with a very difficult run and the season closes similarly with three of their final four games against teams with winning records from a season ago.

Every game they play holds a ton of importance, but some may carry more weight depending on who they are or when they appear on the schedule. Let's rank Minnesota's five most important games on the 2024 schedule.

Ranking the most important games on the Minnesota Vikings schedule in 2024

5. New York Jets (Week 5)

This game is important for a variety of reasons. First, it is going to get a ton of attention because it is one of the overseas games. This game will be played in London and will get a lot of coverage the entire week leading up to it.

Another reason why it's important is because the Vikings get to face a former rival in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers's first season with the Jets was lost when he tore his Achilles after the first snap of the season. The Jets revamped their offensive line and brought in some new weapons to help Rodgers make one last push for a Super Bowl. They'll be a much-talked-about team and will likely be the favorites in this one.

Minnesota has a great opportunity to gain some momentum for their entire season in this game. They'll be playing in front of a crowd that will be fired up, and the game will be shown on NFL Network.

Even with the early start, it'll be a chance for the entire nation to get their first look at the 2024 version of the Vikings, as many will tune in to watch the first game of the day. A win would be a huge momentum boost as they head home and heal up during their bye.

Minnesota can also get one more victory over Rodgers, and that'll be huge for veteran players, especially The Hitman, who would love nothing more than to beat a rival one last time.

4. Detroit Lions (Week 7)

This is a big game for the Vikings as it is their game after the bye and a great time to get the defending Kings of the North in their own house. Minnesota will be well rested after the London game and recharged and ready to go.

There's no doubt the Lions are going to be very good again in 2024, but let's not forget the Vikings almost beat them last year with a depleted defense and a four-interception performance from Nick Mullens.

They'll likely be much healthier and could even have T.J. Hockeson back for this one. They are due for a win against Detroit, and getting one here would be huge as they start their stretch of 12 straight games to finish the season.

This could also be huge as it could be the first game J.J. McCarthy starts. That will likely happen in Week 1, but if the Vikings start with Sam Darnold and start with one or two wins, and he isn't playing well, this is the ideal spot to start the young quarterback of the future.

The Vikings will be coming off a bye and McCarthy will have an extra week of preparation. He'll also be at home with a crowd that will cheer every completion, and lose their minds with every touchdown pass. They'll also be quiet when he has the ball, which will be a huge help when going against an opponent the caliber of the Lions.

3. Chicago Bears (Week 15)

This will be the second game against the Bears of the 2024 season, and it's a big one for a few reasons. Number one, it's on Monday Night Football. Under Kirk Cousins, the Vikings were often flat and uninspired on Monday Night games, with fans going as far as calling it a curse. With a new quarterback and many new faces, this is a great chance to end that stigma.

There's also a very strong chance that McCarthy will start this game. He'll be going against Caleb Williams on a national stage, and this could be seen as a key matchup in what should end up being a very long and competitive rivalry.

It would be so satisfying for the Vikings and especially their fans, to see McCarthy outplay the first overall pick and get the win in a game that everyone is watching. It could change the media's perception of McCarthy and establish him as a legitimate quarterback in the league that teams will need to take seriously.

This is also one of the final games that the Vikings have a good chance to win. Things get harder in the final three weeks with two games on the road against the Seahawks and Lions and a home game against the Packers. A Monday night victory would be huge for this team and give them some positivity as they approach that brutal final stretch of games.

2. at New York Giants (Week 1)

The season opener is always an important game, but this week, it holds more weight than usual. This could be the first game of the JJ McCarthy era. Most seem split on whether the Vikings will throw McCarthy into the fire or start the veteran Sam Darnold. If it is McCarthy, that'll be telling to how the Vikings view the season.

They may think it's more important to get McCarthy the experience and be willing to live and die with the mistakes he could make as a young quarterback. If it is Darnold, it'll show that either McCarthy is far from ready to lead an NFL offense or the team is willing to bring him along slowly and not throw him out to the wolves, making him lose confidence or stunt his growth.

It's also the most winnable game out of the first five of the season. After the Giants game, the Vikings have the 49ers and Texans at home. The 49ers were in the Super Bowl, and the Texans won a playoff game. They then go on the road against the Packers, which will be tough, and then face the Jets in London. It could be the only win the Vikings have in the first five games.

If they lose to the Giants, they have a real shot of starting the season 0-5 as they enter the bye. That would be deflating, and the morale of the team would be in the toilet. Fans would turn on the team, and things could get really ugly. 1-4 still isn't good, but getting that first victory would be huge and could be enough to stave off a total implosion if the next few games go badly.

1. Atlanta Falcons (Week 14)

This is the biggest game of the Vikings 2024 season and it isn't close. The Vikings may not compete in 2024, but a couple of things need to happen. First of all, J.J. McCarthy needs to get experience. He has to start some games, get the feel for the speed of the NFL game, and hopefully show some signs that the Vikings made the right choice by trading up one spot to select him with the 10th overall pick.

The other thing the Vikings need to do is beat Kirk Cousins. Cousins was a solid quarterback for the Vikings, throwing for a ton of yards and touchdowns. He was polarizing because he led the team to just one playoff victory in his time here after collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from the team. Fans were split on him as a quarterback, and for a down-to-earth, goofy dad type of guy, he had a ton of haters.

The Vikings will want to win this not just to beat Kirk, but to also beat the Falcons. They clearly tampered with his deal and punishment will be handed down from the league at some point. The Vikings can punish the Falcons by destroying them at home and helping to kill their playoff dreams.

If the season goes upside down, this will be the Vikings' Super Bowl. The fans will be going nuts and SKOL-chanting their heads off every time Cousins steps on the field. It'll be a raucous environment and a huge moment in the 2024 season.

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